COLUMNIST OF THE CENTURY

Paul Anderson, Tribune column, 22 September 2006

No British writer of the past 100 years has a greater reputation as a journalist than George Orwell. His three great books of reportage, Down and Out in Paris and London, The Road to Wigan Pier and Homage to Catalonia — although not perhaps as ubiquitous as his two best known novels, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four — are the only examples of British journalism from the 1930s now in print in popular editions. Every other journalist I meet, from foreign correspondents to sub-editors, says that Orwell was a major inspiration. Continue reading

Richard Keeble, Free Press, September-October 2006

George Orwell’s time as literary editor at Tribune from 1943-45 amounts to a special moment in the history of British journalism. The quality and quantity of the output by any standards are remarkable. Journalism is inherently ephemeral, bashed out at speed, quickly consumed and quickly forgotten. These pieces, in contrast, still sparkle and surprise with their invention, wit, vast range of subject matter and solid thinking. Continue reading

SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW TRIBUNE?

Paul Anderson, Tribune column, 19 May 2006

OK, and now for something to cheer you all up. It’s this magazine’s 70th birthday in six months and I’ve been spending some time beefing up on the history for a collection of George Orwell’s columns for Tribune that — with a bit of luck — should be appearing in time for the celebrations. In the meantime, here’s a quiz, and the first two correct answers to me get free copies of the Orwell book. Answers by snail-mail to Tribune Quiz, Tribune, 9 Arkwright Road, London NW3 6AN or (preferably) by email to tribunequiz@yahoo.co.uk. Continue reading

ORWELL’S ENEMIES

Paul Anderson, Tribune column, May 20 2003

In marked contrast to the hoo-hah in the press over Cambridge Spies, the BBC’s big-budget television dramatisation of the already familiar tale of Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean and Anthony Blunt, the genuinely newsworthy revelation in a new book of the identity of the Soviet agent who spied on George Orwell and other members of the Independent Labour Party contingent in Spain during the civil war in the 1930s has so far gone unremarked everywhere but the Guardian. Continue reading

ORWELL WAS NOT BIG BROTHER

Paul Anderson, Tribune column, 27 June 2002

I apologise for returning to the subject of George Orwell’s list of alleged Stalinist sympathisers, but Elizabeth C Hazlehurst’s letter a fortnight ago (Tribune June 14) demands a response — not least because she got her facts wrong. Continue reading

TRIBUNE AT 65

Paul Anderson, Tribune 65th anniversary issue, 2 March 2002

I was editor of Tribune from 1991 to 1993, but I joined the paper in 1986 when it was edited by Nigel Williamson — a man who in a dozen years went from hippy to Bennite to Walworth Road apparatchik to senior Murdoch hack to hippy again. He made me reviews editor, a job I’d dreamed of doing since getting hooked on George Orwell in my early twenties, and the five years I did it were some of the happiest I’ve had. Neither Nigel nor his successor as editor, Phil Kelly, ever interfered with the pages. I commissioned and wrote just what I wanted. Continue reading

ORWELL FOR THE PROLES

Paul Anderson, review of various collections of work by George Orwell, Tribune, 7 September 2001

The publication in 1998 of a complete hardback edition of George Orwell’s Collected Works – all the novels, published journalism and surviving broadcast scripts, letters and notes, edited by Peter Davison – was universally heralded as one of the greatest triumphs of serious publishing in living memory, as indeed it was. It was extraordinarily comprehensive in its scope, and the editing was meticulous, erudite and informative. Continue reading

ORWELL AS PROPAGANDIST

Paul Anderson, review of The War Broadcasts by George Orwell, edited by W.J. West (Penguin, £4.95) and The War Commentaries by George Orwell, edited by W.J. West (Penguin, £4.95), Tribune, 24 July 1988

From 1941 to 1943, George Orwell was employed by the Indian section of the BBC’s Eastern Service. He wrote a weekly piece analysing the war as it happened, designed to counter Axis propaganda broadcasts to India; and he wrote and produced less regular talks and discussions, mainly on cultural themes. In 1984, the scripts of Orwell’s programmes were unearthed by W. J. West, who edited them into two volumes, which are now published for the first time in paperback. Continue reading